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Supply Chain Security

Security Awareness and Responsibility

Security systems support every supply chain transaction. No matter where in the chain of events you may find yourself, there are inconspicuous systems in place to keep the global economy safe by design. Understanding this aspect of the supply chain can prevent security threats and aid in recognizing avoidable risks.

Take the first step...

  1. EMPOWER EMPLOYEES - Emphasize the importance of security at your company to all employees. A sustainable security structure is functional when all persons are educated about it. If one person is the head of security and fails to provide their knowledge to the team operating the day to day responsibilities, you are devaluing your strength in numbers. A comprehensive security approach, understood by everyone, reaches further and encompasses more threat assessment.

  2. DOCUMENT YOUR PROGRAM - While multinational companies with various locations may require a complex review process, most smaller organizations can create a simple review process designed to assess security. A simple check list for new vendors validating their presence on the internet, speaking with multiple employees, researching their history and validating documents may be sufficient to address security requirements for new business relationships. Maintaining running logs for seal controls and reviewing security protocols for logistics partners can be done periodically and provide peace of mind. Whatever you find to be an adequate assessment, create a physical document with your assessment techniques and instructions to keep security measures flowing.

Risk Assessment

A Risk Assessment has two essential parts.

The first is to assess your own practices, procedures, and policies within your company. This could include your physical premises, your cyber settings and policies, how your accounting information is transmitted and handled, etc.

The second part is the identification of geographical threat(s) based on your involvement and interaction on the global scale. Understanding the levels of risk with each part of the supply chain will aid in focusing more effort on areas of higher risk.

CTPAT developed the Five Step Risk Assessment guide as an aid to conducting the international risk assessment portion of a Member’s overall risk assessment, and it can be found on U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s website at FiveStepRiskAssessment

Know Who Is Handling Your Freight

Reach out to your business partners who have a direct link to handling cargo or documentation. Each party should be able to provide their internal security measures and risk assessment procedures that detail how the cargo they handle is done so safely. Investigate their history and follow up with references. You could also conduct a visit or questionnaire for more information that may not be given freely by your partners.

Make a Change

If the guidance above is put in place, you are bound to see vulnerabilities in your operations no matter how small or large. Maybe there is a vulnerability in not having documented guidance of how to validate vendors for your employee...or if a supplier does not have a security procedure in place. No matter the risk, address the issue and make the change needed. Take the time to educate your supplier on the need to validate the security measures in place, so that you are doing your part in preventing hazards, and keeping the supply chain secure and healthy.


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